Name this pack!

10:31 a.m. on July 18, 2019 (EDT)
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Prepping for a trip this weekend and thought about ditching my Osprey and going retro with my very first pack from the early '90s, a Kelty external frame.

Can anyone tell me what model this is so I can google some specs and details about it?



Also, does this little tag indicate it’s a small/medium?


10:34 a.m. on July 18, 2019 (EDT)
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The pack felt really good and the belt even fits.  Only concern is it looks a little high centered.  Thoughts?


12:33 p.m. on July 18, 2019 (EDT)
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KELTYS ARE GREAT PACKS!  They revolutionized the outdoors with their innovations years ago and they are still great.  Work best on trail (not so good of trail and or heay, odd loads.

I would still be using my Kelty (bought 1961) with an updated hip belt and new bag (the old one wore out) if it hadn't been stolen.

Enjoy your heirloom...

12:55 p.m. on July 18, 2019 (EDT)
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I think i bought this bag when i was around 12, so 27 years ago.

I think i've narrowed it down to being a Kelty Tioga or Super Tioga.

I just need to figure out what's all adjustable on it.  Shoulder straps and hip belt wise it felt good.  I think the load lifting straps need to be moved up so that they are at a 45 degree angle.

1:14 p.m. on July 18, 2019 (EDT)
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Looks a lot like my Super Tioga. Excellent load hauler and daddy pack. You can pile stuff on top and really go to town.

This pic is from 5 years ago. That is either a two or three night daddy pack and weighed about 70lbs at the start as I recall. Your only limit is how much can you pick up when you have a pack like that. Enjoy!

1:45 p.m. on July 18, 2019 (EDT)
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I'm 6'5 265lbs so i can handle a pretty good sized pack.

Hard to think how much stuff we used to lash to the outside of our backs back then.  Now you rarely see people with stuff outside their pack.  My 1lb down sleeping bag will probably fit in the smallest side pocket on this thing!

7:17 p.m. on July 18, 2019 (EDT)
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Unusual Kelty logo. 

8:05 a.m. on July 19, 2019 (EDT)
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I made these adjustments last night.
I moved the should straps up an entire level so that the attachment point is just below horizontal. I then moved the load lifters all the way up so they are at about a 40 degree angle. I also move the should straps out a little wider. I gotta say, this pack feels better than my Osprey Aether 85 pack now!! If only the padding in the straps and hip belt were nice and soft like my Osprey, i think i'd switch back over for good!

Yeah i'm pretty sure it's a Tioga, just not sure which one. My Kelty logo isn't centered like all the others i've seen. Also, that large top flap on mine use a braided cord and 2 hooks to secure it down where as all the photos i've found for Tioga use a nylon strap and buckle.

5:03 p.m. on July 24, 2019 (EDT)
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While I didn’t get many miles in this past weekend with the pack on, I’m pretty sure I’m going back to this as my go to pack for the foreseeable future vs Osprey Aether pack!

if only the padding on the shoulders and hip belt were as lush as an osprey I’d be in heaven!


7:00 p.m. on July 24, 2019 (EDT)
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Get a local shoe or luggage repair shop to make you some custom padded straps.  I often use these guys to repair and customize pack harnesses and bags.  Procure the materials, make up a set of drawings that convey what you want.


7:54 p.m. on July 24, 2019 (EDT)
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Kelty will send you replacement straps, they have done so for two of my packs.  Contact their customer service.

12:29 a.m. on July 25, 2019 (EDT)
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It has the black anodized frame so a Super Tioga is my guess.

12:42 a.m. on July 25, 2019 (EDT)
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It's a Kelty Tioga. I had it in Red. I wish I still had it.

3:58 a.m. on July 25, 2019 (EDT)
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LOL, this, over an Osprey....please....ridiculous.  I had a North Face Back Magic back in the day, and I wouldn't take THAT pack over an Osprey.....

10:36 a.m. on July 25, 2019 (EDT)
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i grew up hiking with external frame packs, switched in college. there are pros and cons to both designs.  I would take either of my larger internal frame backpacks (a gregory that's about 70 liters and a mystery ranch that's about 100L) over any external frame i have used.   

11:17 a.m. on July 25, 2019 (EDT)
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I had one in the early 80s that looked a lot like yours. Mine was a Tioga. Cool retro pack, these days!

12:29 p.m. on July 25, 2019 (EDT)
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A lot depends on the load.  Frame packs are great for chainsaws and 90 lb fossil mammoth bones.

12:54 p.m. on July 25, 2019 (EDT)
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I believe it is a Tioga or Super-Tioga.  The main difference is pack volume.  The

Super-Tioga is one the best heavy load carrying packs ever made.  While it is bulky and heavy- about 8 lbs or so, it is extremely comfortable to carry very heavy loads in.  It is not a good pack for climbing or off-trail use due to external frame design, but for high loads on established trails its hard to beat.  Heavy loads to me means well over 50lbs.  With todays emphasis on going light this pack will seem like a dinosaur, but if you desire to pack a lot, like a dad-pack this one can't be beat for comfort. 

    I use mine almost exclusively for training purposes, small hill outside of town is great for getting into shape, and have put up to 100 lbs in it. I have never used it outside of condition purposes myself, as most of my trips require some off trail use and scrambling.  However last time we did the Wonderland trail I saw someone using it, and it made me smile.

1:38 p.m. on July 25, 2019 (EDT)
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Walter Hanson said:

LOL, this, over an Osprey....please....ridiculous.  I had a North Face Back Magic back in the day, and I wouldn't take THAT pack over an Osprey.....

This is a case of gross generalization. 

Stating all external frame (or internal frame) packs are the same, or that internal frames are superior to external frames, or vice versa, or even that a particular brand/model of any pack is superior to all others, flies in the face of conventional wisdom.  If ever there were an instance where the only personal preference that counts is that of the beholder, it is choice of backpacks (and boots, too).

We all can recommend packs based on workmanship, but when it comes to comfort, that is a nontransferable, totally personal experience.  This is why you should always try on a loaded down pack before you buy (and boots, too).


11:31 a.m. on July 28, 2019 (EDT)
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I remember taking my Dad to the main store of REI in Seattle.  He was 92 at the time, and the guy that taught me how to backpack. 

We were looking at the enormous wall of packs, and there was not one external frame pack on the wall.   I asked the sales guy and he said  "we have one or two in the catalogue."

This is what a fad looks like.  External frame packs are still highly functional.  They are cooler in hot weather, have good pockets for organization and room for one more thing on the frame.  People always mention that they are not good for off trail hiking, but I know few people that don't carry overnight packs on trails. 

It is a matter of personal preference. 

3:15 p.m. on July 28, 2019 (EDT)
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I don't know if it's a fad or evolution.  If my 1962 Kelty frame pack had not been stolen, I would still use it on occasion.  But internal frame packs have gotten better over the years and can accomplish many tasks capably.

Over the years, I have gravitated toward internals.  They are definitely superior in most off trail situations and when doing technical rope work.

10:40 p.m. on July 28, 2019 (EDT)
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I think the popularity of internal frame packs started as a marketing gimmick, but now has a fair number of people who can claim it is the proper choice, because their loads are lighter, making internal frame packs feasible.

I remember the days when external frame packs ruled.  Almost everyone domestically used them, including many mountaineers.  At some point domestic mountaineers got introduced to internal frame packs by their international brethren, appreciating how they were better suited for off-trail use.  Then somewhat later, REI and others did catalog campaigns featuring uber Joe trekker types, sporting internal frame packs like the reader saw others using while traveling in Europe.  It was the dawn of marketing outdoor lifestyle apparel.  Patagucci became the new Pendleton; trekking poles replaced staffs, and sports drinks obsoleted water (at least according to the ads).  Suddenly, in the span of four or five years everyone wanted to look like a REI cover model, and that included the pack they were hawking.  I think the real impetus behind the initial internal frame pack marketing campaigns was to grow sales by getting the people to replace their old (and totally functional) external frame packs with something new, and for everyone to buy the first generation internal frame packs, most of which had short useful life span, as the OEMs did not design them to have replaceable shoulder straps or hip belts.  Keep in mind most people did not have what we now consider as UL equipment. 

A lot of folks today advocate certain gear designs but actually don't have much experience with the alternatives.  Trekking poles, staffs, and pack configurations are top on this list.  My experience is most who I have talked to about these matters have not spent extensive time using the alternatives, that they are mostly reciting the spiel on the back of the Kool Aide package.  Regardless, internal frame packs are definitely here to stay, largely because loads most now carry are almost half what people used cary.  Internal frame packs are well suited for lighter loads.  But I expect external frame packs will see a rebound of some size, because, according to those who use both types of packs, external frame packs are better when hauling heavy loads on a trail.  (Will we consider this a resurgence or vindication?)


December 7, 2019
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